NewsVisiting Rwanda

Visiting Rwanda

By Nigussie Meshesha (PhD)
Associate Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication (Political Communication)

A team from the Ethiopian Media Council was invited by the Rwanda Media Commission for
experience sharing as its counterpart. Based on the invitation letter singed and sent from the Executive Secretary, Mr. Emmanueal Mugisha, on April 08 three members of the Ethiopian Media council namely Tamirat Hailu who is Deputy Chairperson of the Council’s Executive Board, Dr. Nigussie Meshesha who is Deputy Chairperson of the Council’s General Assembly, and Dr. Agaredech Jemaneh who is member of the Council’s jury paid a visit on 25 April 2022 to Rwanda Media Commission at Kigali.

EMC delegation with RMC
Fig. 1 RMC Commissioners, The Executive Secretary and the team from Ethiopia

The visit was scheduled for four days from April 26 up to May 31/2022. During the visit there were deliberations made with the commission members and with all other offices including the Rwandan Utility Regulatory Agency, The FM radios in the city of Kigali and the Rwandan Genocide memorial among many other places we paid a visit.
In our first encounter, we met with the Rwandan Media Commission Commissioners, with the Chief Commissioner Mr. Cleopha Baroaro and his deputy commissioner along with the
Executive secretary of the Commission. There were programmes schedule made by the Commission for our four days visit.

Fig. 2. The Ruwndan Media Council Commissioner Mr. Cleopha in the middle with his deputy
in the left and Emannueal Magushi the Executive Secretary on the right

On the first day of our visit we had a day long experience sharing meeting with our Rwandan counterparts.
The Commission is an organ set up by journalists whose responsibility is to ensure compliance with the principles governing the media and to defend the general interest of citizens. It has an independent jury that receives complaints from citizens on various media reporting that caused public nuances. The commission is responsible for content regulation of media, registration and licensing the media.
In our discussion it was explained that Rwanda Media Commission (RMC) based on the media policy and reforms in the country in 2011 when the commission was constituted as Media SelfRegulation agency with the country’s Law N0. 02/2013 of 08/02/2013. However, it did not come into force till journalists in their General Assembly of 27/8/2013 adopted a blue print initiating its establishment.
By now there are about 205 media outlets registered with the commission, 969 journalists (743 men and 226 women) who received accreditation from the commission. Nine radio and television stations and 196 print and online media platforms operate in the country being licensed, but every individual journalist returns the license when he/she leaves a given media outlet.
The delegation also visited the Royal FM 94.3 Radio Station under the University, which is
operated by the University of Mount Kenya; The station covers 40% of the service in English and 60% coverage in Ikinyarwanda, a Rwandan language. There is a 14-hour broadcast daily.

Fig. 3 The Ethiopian team at RMC Consultative meeting
The commission has been supported by the Rwandan government as some budget has been allocated to it by the Rwandan Governance board. The Rwanda Governance Board is a public specialized organ mandated to promote the principles of Good governance. According to the discussion the Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) is a public institution established by law No 56/2016 proclaimed on December 16, 2016 being mandated to promote good governance principles and monitor service delivery across public and private sector institutions as well as Civil Society Organizations in the nation. The board is an independent body which doesn’t receive instructions from any other institution in exercising its mission. RGB submits its Annual Report and Action Plan to the President of the Republic and to the Parliament, Both Chambers, with a Copy to the President of the Supreme Court and Prime Minister.

The media in the country are expected to be registered by RGB at the Department of Communication as one of the powers of RGB is to register any new media that request for explanations relating to governance, performance and service delivery in public and private institutions and make request for administrative sanctions against defaulting institutions or staff members. If there are breach of law the board suspends registration certificate or revoke the legal personality of organizations.
The team from Ethiopia asked about how the commission can keep itself distanced from the pressure of the government as long as the government becomes the financial source. It was, however, viewed differently just as the three branches of government get their financial sources from the government, the expressed that there is nothing that erodes the independence of the media freedom as far as there are appropriate democratic setups. For this, the Rwandan Governance Board is a responsible body in administering.
On the following day, a courtesy visit was arranged by the commission to the Royal FM in Kiagali, 94.3 The ROYAL FM, which is called the heart beat of Kigali entertains and engages a broad range of young adults with a distinctive mix of contemporary music and speech. This Royal FM is owned by a university. They claim that the media is a highly professional, polished and consistent premium product and one which we are sure you would be proud to be associated with.
We first met with the very lovely radio presenter Jackie Lumbasi with her very charming face and a very remarkable English language communication. We made very interesting discussion .

Fig 4. Jackie Lumbasi left top from the ROYAL FM and Bahati Imalda from Rwandan Media
Council, and the team from Ethiopia and learnt how the Rwandan media in general and the radio in particular operate in the country.
We then had a visit to the studios, the newsroom and the production room, which we really found it much conducive to work and attracts visitors most as shown in the picture below.

oyal FM studio
Fig. 5 The team from Ethiopia in Royal FM radio studio

The team from Ethiopia in Royal FM radio studio also visited the studio and found it really
conducive for work for the journalists. The third day the team from Ethiopia visited KT FM radio studio found in the city. KT Radio is an independent news, information and entertainment radio station founded in July 2012 to run a web-based and FM radio.

Fig. 6 The team from Ethiopia at Royal FM radio reception point
The KT radio is with the highest reach to radio audiences in the country with five different FM transmissions from the different parts of the country. There is FM 96.7 aired from Kigali city, FM 107.9 aired from Southern province, FM 102 from Eastern province, FM 101.1 Northern province, FM 103.3 from Western province. These FM stations have largely enabled the population to get news and programmes.

Fig.7 The KT radio manager right to Emalada from RMC, and the Marketing manager from the right most with the Ethiopian team
The team from Ethiopia at KT radio manager made detail discussion on the programmes as they have different shows prepared on local issues and different programs sponsored by bigger companies including international telecom companies working closely and many others.

Fig. 8 Ethiopian Team at KT radio studio
On the fourth day morning , we made our final visit at Ruwandan Utility Regulatory Authority.
The authority delegate and Communication department head along with other senior experts welcomed the team from Ethiopia. Then the RURA authorities made a presnation about the authority explaining that Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority(RURA) was initially created by the Law n° 39/2001 of 13 September 2001 with the mission to regulate certain public Utilities, namely: telecommunications network and/or Telecommunications services, electricity, water, removal of waste products from residential or business premises, extraction and distribution of gas and transport of goods and persons. The Law Nº 09/2013 of 01/03/2013 established Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) and determining its mission, powers, organisation and functioning. RURA has the mandate to regulate and do the following functions:
1. Telecommunications, information technology, broadcasting and converging electronic
technologies including the internet and any other audiovisual information and
communication technology;
2. Postal services;
3. Renewable and non-renewable energy, industrial gases, pipelines and storage facilities;
4. Water;
5. Sanitation;
6. Transport of persons and goods;
7. Radiation Protection; and
8. Other public utilities, if deemed necessary.
The same law gives to the authority a legal personality, financial and administrative autonomy in the fulfillment of its mandate. The media council (RMC) also works with RURA and all media which are members of the council get license from RURA.
In the afternoon, we also visited the Rwandan Genocide memorial museum in Kigali where it left dark memory for all Rwandan citizens and leaves many visitors burst into tears, and creates mental agony to all visitors and many others who think of the more than million people who were slaughtered and brutally killed with guns and machetes.

Fig. 9. Kigali genocide memorial museum
On the same day in the evening, there was a dinner invitation in the Ethiopian embassy in Kigali upon the new ambassador D’aba Debele presenting his credential to the Rwandan president Paul Kagame on that day. Based on the invitation the team took part in the ceremony as the first guests from Ethiopia right after the new ambassador’s appointment. On the occasion the team from Ethiopia presented a gift to RMC officials.

Recognition for RMC

Fig. 10. RMC officials on the left , ambassador D’aba Debele in the middle and the
team from Ethiopia on the right

In Conclusion, the visit was found to be quite useful and it gave the chance for the Ethiopian media council members to bring good lessons be drawn from there to the Ethiopian media council.


  1. It was such a great visit to Rwanda. However, the writer shall continue writing the good lessons with regard to the Media commission, explaining the differences and similarities. What were the good lessons learnt? mainly from the perspectives of the legal bindings, conditions of independence and freedom and its benefits for independent journalistic practices mainly in private media institutions.


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